Religion, War and Peace

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To understand this topic, we must first know what peace is.  Peace is a state where war does not exist.  The population of a country lives in security without hostility.  Harmony and unity exists between people of the country.  This leads to feelings of well-being and tranquility.

Justice is achieved when a state of fairness exists.  People are treated equally and humanely and their human rights are protected.  We are all entitled to human rights simply because we are human beings.  Each human is treated with care, respect and has value and worth.

The sanctity of life is a religious teaching that states that all human life is a sacred gift given by God and in this respect it needs to be treated with care and respect.  All violence opposes the sanctity of life because it involves the killing of soldiers and civilians.  Evidence for the sanctity of life is found in religious scriptures:

  • Christianity - "Your body is a temple of God" Corinthians.  "You formed my inner most parts, you knitted me together in my mother's womb" Psalm.
  • Islam -  "He is the one who created you from a single soul" Sura.  "Do not take life...which Allah has made sacred" Sura.
  • Judaism - "I, and I alone am God. I kill and give life." Deuteronomy.

All religions believe that life comes from God and should be protected.  Life is special and precious and needs to be cherished.  God is in charge of life and therefore only he can decide when it starts and ends.  God has plans for everyone's lives - we all have purpose and value.

There are several causes of war:

  • Greed - to gain more land and resources from a country
  • Self-defence - from an attacking nation
  • Religion - a country may need to defend itself from another country that is trying to impose its religious beliefs on it
  • Ally - to protect a country that has been attacked
  • Civil war - to remove a ruling government from your own country
  • Protection of human rights - to defend innocent civilians in a country who are being mistreated

There are five different types of warfare:

Conventional warfare.  This is fought with guns, planes, tanks and ships that fire ammunition such as bullets.  The targets are relatively controllable.

Nuclear warfare.  This uses weapons of mass destruction that kill indiscriminately upon explosion and leave radiation behind for many years.

Chemical warfare.  This uses bombs that contain chemicals which are released upon detonation.  The chemicals kill indiscriminately, eg napalm in the Vietnam War.

Biological warfare.  This uses weapons that release biological agents such as pathogens.  The pathogens spread disease indiscriminately with the potential to kill.

Terrorism.  This is a type of war that uses fear as its weapon. Generally the targets are civilians, to shock the government and force it into doing what the terrorist groups want.  The Twin Towers were destroyed in September 2001 after…


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